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Soldering Fume Extractor 

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Soldering Fume Extractor 

Written By: Jim Spencer 




Hole saw set (1) 

• 3" computer fan (4) 

• Razor blade (1) 

• carbon air filter (1) 

Sanding drum (1) 

Generic 12v power supply (1) 

Soldering iron (1) 

• Power connector (1) 

• Standard drill bits (1) 

misc mounting hardware (1) 

hand-held electric drill 


generic project enclosure (1) 



I do a lot of electronics projects and have recently taken an interest in stained glass. I love 
to solder, but the fumes from flux and rosin aren't very good for you. I decided to build my 
own fume extractor to solve this problem. 

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Soldering Fume Extractor 

Step 1 — Soldering Fume Extractor 

• I got tired of having to work in the garage and set up fans for ventilation so I decided to 
build my own fume extractor. I spent about $20 on parts which includes 3 extra filters, but I 
bought a lot of things new that you might just have sitting around for free. 

Step 2 



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• First, I did some shopping. I purchased 4 PC fans that were on clearance. I also 
purchased an activated carbon air filter (a universal "cut to size" type). 

• Then I looked around for an enclosure to house the fans and air filter in. I ended up 
choosing a tupperware container originally intended for storing cereal. Obviously you could 
repurpose some fans from old computers and house everything in a cardboard box, but I 
decided to spend a few dollars to make everything look nice and clean. 

• I decided to use this enclosure upside-down because it was wider at the top and it will be 
more stable this way. The third picture in this series is my "concept" layout. 

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Soldering Fume Extractor 

Step 3 

• After obtaining all of the required parts, I decided how to lay them out. I like to trace 
patterns like this on grid paper; it is easy to center and align, plus you can tape it directly 
to whatever you're working on to accurately locate your cuts. 

• I pre-drilled all of the holes with a small drill bit using the patterns that I made. 

• After removing the paper patterns, I used hole saws to cut out the larger circles. On thin 
plastic like this, I flip the guide bit around so that it doesn't start to mill sideways and make 
your round hole turn into an oval. 

Step 4 

• After cutting plastic with a hole saw like this, you'll have some rough edges, (especially if 
your blade is dull or you are impatient while cutting). I used a rotary sanding drum in my 
drill to refine the shapes of the cutouts and a razor blade to trim away the flash that was 
left over. This makes a big difference that you can see in the "before" and "after" pictures. 

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Soldering Fume Extractor 

Step 5 

• After the enclosure has been cut and cleaned up, it's time to mount your fans. I made a trip 
to the hardware store to get some small machine screws and tiny nuts to match. 

• When you mount the fans, make sure to orient them so that the wires end up where you 
intend for them to. 

• This step was a little tedious because it was hard to start the little nuts. If I were to build 
this project again, I'd find screws that threaded directly into the plastic of the fans and not 
worry about using little nuts. 

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Soldering Fume Extractor 

Step 6 

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Soldering Fume Extractor 

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• Next I installed a connector for 
power. I happened to have a panel- 
mount XLR (microphone) jack 
sitting around, so that's what I 
used. These fans run on 12vdc 
(48vdc is commonly used with 
these connectors), so I didn't have 
any concerns about the suitability 
of this type of connector even 
though it is not normally used only 
for DC power. 

• It is not pictured, but I also found 
an old laptop power supply that 
output 12vdc like the fans run on. I 
soldered a matching female XLR 
cable connector onto this power 

• Be sure to match the voltage of the 
power supply to the circuit that 
you're powering, take note of the 
fans' polarity, and connect the 
cable connector and panel jack 
using the same pins. If you're not 
familiar with basic electronics, 
google what happens to voltages 
when you put devices in series and 
parallel so that you don't send your 
fans the wrong voltage or 
overburden your power supply. 
Ohm's law is important :) 

• Obviously you can use whatever 
type of connector you like as long 
as it is rated for the voltage and 
current that you are using. Also, 
use a female connector on the side 
that the power is coming from so 

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Soldering Fume Extractor 

that the power supply can't short 
out on anything. 

Step 7 

• Now that the enclosure is made 
and the fans are wired to a power 
connector, there's nothing left to do 
but construct the filter. 

• The type of filter that I purchased 
required me to cut the element to 
size and then make it the meat of a 
sandwich between two (also cut-to- 
size) plastic lattices. Make the 
lattice small enough to fit inside the 
enclosure easily and cut the foam 
large enough that it seals itself 
against the sidewalls. 

• You can see a leftover piece of the 
plastic lattice in this picture. 

• There was enough filter media in 
the kit I bought to make 4 filters. 

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Soldering Fume Extractor 

Step 8 

• That's all, it's finished! Insert the filter into the housing so that it doesn't interfere with the 
fans and plug in the power. 

• I'll add some action shots in the near future! 

I am well pleased with the fume extractor that I built. It works well and I can solder inside the 
house without bothering anyone or being exposed to the fumes. I will be experimenting with 
using more than one filter medium at a time and retrofitting a speed control/power switch. If I 
were to do it all over again, I think I would buy more powerful fans, but I may retrofit those as 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1 -03 1 0:26:23 AM. 

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